Warm Arctic Storm To Hurl Hurricane Force Winds at UK and Iceland, Push Temps to 36-72+ Degrees (F) Above Normal at North Pole

We’ve probably never seen weather like what’s being predicted for a vast region stretching from the North Atlantic to the North Pole and on into the broader Arctic this coming week. But it’s all in the forecast — an Icelandic low that’s stronger than most hurricanes featuring a wind field stretching over hundreds and hundreds of miles. One that taps warm tropical air and hurls it all the way to the North Pole and beyond during Winter time. And it all just reeks of a human-forced warming of the Earth’s climate…

Freak North Atlantic Storm Featuring Extremely Low Pressures

Sunday afternoon, a powerful, hurricane force low pressure system was in the process of rounding the southern tip of Greenland. This burly 960 mb beast roared out of an increasingly unstable Baffin Bay on Christmas. As it rounded Greenland and entered the North Atlantic, it pulled behind it a thousand-mile-wide gale force wind field even as it lashed the tip of Greenland with Hurricane force gusts. To its east, the storm now links with three other lows. Lows that are, even now, drawing south-to-north winds up from a region just west of Gibraltar, on past the UK, up beyond Iceland, over Svalbard, and into the Arctic Ocean itself.

image

(GFS forecasts predict a storm bombing out between 920 and 930 mb over Iceland by Wednesday. It’s a storm that could rival some of the strongest such systems ever recorded for the North Atlantic. But this storm’s influence is unique in its potential to shove an unprecedented amount of warm air into the Arctic. A warm storm for the Arctic Winter time. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Over the next few days these three lows are predicted to combine into a storm the likes of which the far North Atlantic rarely ever sees. This storm is expected to center over Iceland. But it will have far-reaching impacts ranging from the UK and on north to the pole itself. As the lows combine, GFS predicts them to bomb out into an unprecedentedly deep low featuring 920 to 930 mb (and possibly lower) minimum central pressures by this coming Wednesday. These pressures are comparable to the very extreme storm systems that raged through the North Atlantic during the Winter of 2013. Systems that featured minimum pressures in the range of 928 to 930 mb.

It’s worth noting that the lowest pressure ever recorded for the North Atlantic occurred in the much further southward forming Hurricane Wilma at 882 mb. In the far north, a January 11 1993 storm between Iceland and Scotland featured 913-915 mb pressures. It’s also worth considering that the GFS model currently puts the predicted storm within striking distance of setting a new record for the far north. Meanwhile, ECMWF models predict a somewhat less extreme low in the range of 940 mb (updated: ECMWF now predicts a 920 mb class storm). By comparison, Hurricane Sandy bottomed out at around 940 mb as well.

Regardless of peak strength, the expected storm is predicted to be both very intense and wide-ranging as both model forecasts feature numerous lows linked in chain with a much deeper storm center near Iceland. Among these and further north, two more strong lows in the range of 965 to 975 mb will round out this daisy chain of what is now shaping up to be a truly extreme storm system. The Icelandic coast and near off-shore regions are expected to see heavy precipitation hurled over the island by 90 to 100 mile per hour or stronger winds raging out of 35-40 foot seas. Meanwhile, the UK will find itself in the grips of an extraordinarily strong southerly gale running over the backs of 30 foot swells.

Warm Winds to Force Above Freezing Temperatures For the North Pole

image

(By early Wednesday, temperatures at the North Pole are expected to exceed 1 degree Celsius readings. Such temperatures are in the range of more than 40 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) above average. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

All along the eastern side of this storm, powerful warm winds are expected to funnel northward. Originating along the 35 degree North Latitude line west of Spain, these winds will force a train of warm air and moisture pole-ward ahead of our storm. The winds will rush up over a very riled North Sea, they will howl into a far warmer than normal Barents, and they will roar on past Svalbard — finally turning as they pass beyond the North Pole.

These winds will bring with them extraordinarily warm temperatures for the High Arctic region during Winter time. By Wednesday, the North Pole is expected to see temperatures in the range of 1-2 degrees Celsius or 41-42 degrees C above Woods Hole and NASA baseline Winter-time temperatures (73-75 degrees Fahrenheit above the normal daily temperature of -40 F for a typical Winter day). Such an extreme departure would be like seeing a 120 degree (Fahrenheit) December day in my hometown of Gaithersburg, MD.

NCAR and reanalysis data for the North Pole at this time of year put daily averages in the range of -30 C (-22 F) and -20 C (-4 F) respectively. Taking all these measures into account, it appears that we’ll be seeing temperatures in the range of 36-72 degrees above normal North Pole readings for late December, depending on which baseline you use.

By any yardstick, these are extremely warm and likely record readings for the North Pole. Winter Temperatures have only approached the freezing mark on one previous occasion in the NCAR data record. And the predicted temperatures for Wednesday appear set to surpass this odd record. Needless to say, a 1-2 C reading at the North Pole during late December is about as odd as witnessing Hell freezing over. But, in this case, the latest wave of warmth issuing from a human-driven shift toward climatological hell appears to be on schedule to arrive at the North Pole by Wednesday.

From Slate on Tuesday, December 29:

“I contacted a team of climate scientists at the University of Washington who maintain a fleet of weather monitoring equipment near the North Pole. James Morison, the principal investigator of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, said he’s “never heard of” temperatures above freezing in the wintertime there. Looking closer at the weather data, it appears this event is in fact unprecedented during the time period from late December through late April”

Arctic temp anomaly +4 C

(The Arctic region as a whole is expected to experience a [frankly quite insane] temperature anomaly in the range of 4 degrees Celsius above average by January 3rd of 2016. Note the broad regions over Northern Canada, Siberia, and the Arctic Ocean that are predicted to experience temperatures in the range of 20 degrees Celsius above the already hotter than normal 1979 to 2000 baseline readings. For some areas — particularly in Northern Canada — this will mean near or even above freezing temperatures for tundra and permafrost zones in the depths of Winter. A set of conditions that has serious implications for permafrost thaw and related carbon store feedbacks. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

New Freakish Weather Patterns Concordant With Human-Forced Climate Change

The deep, northward-driving synoptic pattern associated with both powerful high Latitude storms and warm winds is only something we’ve begun to see during recent years. The warming polar environment itself generates weaknesses in the Jet Stream which tends to allow these warm air invasions. In addition the warming oceans — which hold heat for longer than land masses — generate pathways for warm air invasions of the Arctic during Winter time. The Barents Sea, for example, has been particularly warm during recent years which has resulted in numerous warm wind invasion events issuing northward over Svalbard and regions eastward during recent years.

A final ingredient to this highly altered weather pattern appears to be a cooling of the sea surface in the North Atlantic just south of Greenland. This cooling has been set off by an increase in fresh water melt outflows from Greenland as glacial melt there has accelerated concordant with human-forced warming. The cool pool of glacial melt water south of Greenland has aided in the generation of a dipole featuring cool air to the west, warm air to the east. This year, warm air has tended to flow northward over Spain, the UK, and along a region between Iceland and Scandinavia. During the Winter of 2015-2016, this warm air slot has also been the breeding ground for very unstable weather and a number of powerful storm systems.

Polar Vortex Ripped in Half Late Dec 2015

(It’s an El Nino year. But despite a climate feature that would typically strengthen the Jet Stream, what we see is another Arctic warm air invasion reminiscent of the recent polar vortex collapse events of Winters 2012 through 2014-2015. Note that the region of coldest air, which would typically tend to center over the North Pole has been driven south toward Greenland and Baffin Bay. A pattern that we’d expect concordant with world ocean warming and Greenland melt as a result of human-forced climate change. Image source: ECMWF.)

Unfortunately, this larger overall pattern marks a progression away from typical North Atlantic weather and toward a much more stormy environment. It’s an environment that is all too likely to be marked by features of warm air invasions moving up through the Barents and into the High Arctic during Winter. Of the Northern Hemisphere storm circulation tending to wrap around Greenland as the center of cold air shifts from the North Pole to the last bastion of dense glacial ice. And of a very unstable storm generating cold water and surface air temperature zone deepening and gaining an ever-stronger hold within the North Atlantic.

These are influences we see now. Ones that are impacting both the current powerful storm over Iceland and the unprecedented surge of warm air that is now preparing to invade the High Arctic. And though El Nino likely also played a part in the shifting of the storm generation zone toward Iceland, the far northward propagation of warm air into the Barents and High Arctic along with the extreme strength of the predicted storm are both likely new features of an overall altered pattern. What we witness here are both climates and weather features changing before our eyes in the form of what to us may seem a freak event — but what is actually part of a dangerous transition period away from the stable climates of the Holocene.

UPDATE: ECMWF model runs now predict an extraordinarily strong 920 mb low striking Iceland by Wednesday. With GFS model runs coming into agreement, the certainty of this extreme forecast intensity increases. NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center now has an updated forecast of 90 knot winds for the region in conjunction with this very impressive storm system.

Finally, as the Washington Post indicates in this excellent article, though some scientists are increasingly concerned that current powerful North Atlantic storms have a climate change influence, others remain unconvinced. For my own part, and based on continued observations of the weather data, model attribution studies, sea surface temperature, and glacial melt indicators, I believe there is a strengthening case for climate change attribution in the instance of more frequent, intense North Atlantic storms and especially in the recent very frequent Arctic warm air invasion events. In addition, it will unfortunately take years-to-decades for the institutions of modern science to come to a consensus on this and other climate change related issues. Given that events are now likely in play that will generate rapid changes to global and, in particular, North Atlantic weather patterns, it is impractical to wait for a scientific consensus to develop before reporting on these emerging issues. Waiting, at this time, would be irresponsible as it would result in a general lack of awareness of the overall threat.

To paraphrase Dr. Jennifer Francis — at this point it is not practical to wait for us to achieve perfect knowledge. And, in fact, we have more than enough indicators at this time to show that something is quite dreadfully wrong.

SECOND UPDATE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29

THIRD UPDATE 12:36 AM EST, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30:

As of early Wednesday morning temperatures at the North Pole had risen to 1.1 C or 34 degrees F representing the highest temperatures ever recorded at the North Pole for this time of year and the first time this region of the high Arctic has experienced temperatures substantially above freezing during Winter.

image

(1.1 C reading at the North Pole by Midnight, EST is a historic high temperature for the, what should be frigid, top of our world. It’s also yet one more bit of evidence showing that global weather is now in the process of going far off-kilter. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Links:

Earth Nullschool

ECMWF

Climate Reanalyzer

Very Low Minima of North Atlantic Cyclones During Winter of 2013

Warning From Scientists Age of Storms, Rapid Sea Level Rise is Coming Soon

Dr Jennifer Francis on Jet Stream Changes and Increasing Instances of Extreme Weather

NOAA Ocean Prediction Center Atlantic Analysis

NCAR North Pole Temperature Graphic

Slate on Extreme Weather (It’s worth noting that the storm causing extreme weather in the Central US is not the same one that’s bombing out over Iceland and driving this severe polar warming event, though these storms are certainly both part of the same odd overall weather pattern.)

Washington Post on Freak North Atlantic Storm

Hat Tip to DT Lange

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob (Remember — “Hot seeks Cold.”)

Hat Tip to TodaysGuestis

Special Mention to JDAllen and the Arctic Sea Ice Blog (I just became aware they began a discussion on the topic of unprecedented Arctic warming on December 26. ASIB deserves mention for their unfailing monitoring of the Northern Hemisphere sea ice and cryosphere as well as for their extraordinarily informative discussions.)

Leave a comment

314 Comments

  1. Kevin Jones

     /  December 27, 2015

    Thanks, Robert. I thought I was hallucinating. (what next….!?)

    Reply
    • What next, indeed. And, yeah, I got that feeling of hallucination too. We have North Pole temps during Winter that are more typical of North Pole temps in July… I guess this is another holy crap moment.

      Reply
  2. M E Cheshier

     /  December 27, 2015

    My oh my!😦

    Reply
  3. M E Cheshier

     /  December 27, 2015

    Reblogged this on How 2 Be Green and commented:
    My oh my!😦

    Reply
  4. Predictions for the jet stream are to stay locked in to place. So lot’s of rain in store for poor old England yet again. http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=jetstream;sess=

    Reply
    • Poor England. Suffering the outrageous fortune of not only climate change driven extreme weather but also a pack of fools in Parliament who don’t seem to be at all willing to do much more than token effort to keep things from getting worse.

      I see the U.S. Congress extended renewable tax credits in exchange for lifting the oil export ban. It’s the kind of political compromise that could kill us. Like taking arsenic with your helping of vegetables and calling that progress. Ah well, at least republicans will need to find some other way to attempt to kill off renewable energy now.

      Reply
      • Actually, the tax credit deal seems pretty good to me–new renewable systems installed will reduce fossil fuel use year after year for many years. America’s current fleet of wind turbines has already generated, cumulatively, as much electricity as burning more than 1 billion barrels of oil, and is currently producing another billion barrels’ worth about every four years.

        Reply
        • I think it is certainly better than the situation where Republicans keep trying to kill the credit. And for the wind and solar industry this is a big deal. The issue for me is not just that wind and solar get a big victory — which they absolutely did — but that we as a country are moving in the right direction fast enough. And in looking at that we must question what lifting the export ban implies. It means we’re committing to supporting continued fracking in order to try to sell the stuff overseas. We’re committing to building big export terminals in Corpus Christi even as we transition to more efficient and more renewable energy as a nation. So lifting the export ban implies to me that we’re committing to exporting our carbon consumption. And, right now, we really can’t afford to be doing that.

          I guess considering the current political reality, this was the best we could hope for. And I also have to be honest in saying that I had hoped for this particular compromise. That I am somewhat refreshed by the fact that a republican Congress can find some way to support renewables (despite their strong fossil fuel ties). In that, I guess I can say that I find a small glimmer of hope. Hope that they can back away from fossil fuels and climate change denial gracefully.

          But we should also be realistic and say that for our future it’s simply not yet enough.

      • Jeremy

         /  December 28, 2015

        They voted for these fools.
        You can’t teach stupid.

        Reply
      • Yes, I have lot’s of family in the UK and in Northern England, obviously that concerns me. However, aside from the disgraceful government(s) for years now, Labour included, the UK spawned the Industrial Revolution so in some ways as a major cause of this climate disaster we are facing, this is poetic justice in ways.

        Reply
      • The ‘compromise’ was just a payback to BigOil in trade for the next round of campaign support. Such a broken system; such a shameful embarrassment.

        A billion barrels of oil appears to be equivalent to the U.S. energy consumption for an 8-week period, if we believe the U.S. EIA data point that our current consumption is ~18 million barrels per day. Yes, we have progressed in construction of alternative energy sources, but we still have a very long way to go.

        Reply
  5. climatehawk1

     /  December 28, 2015

    Tweeting.

    Reply
  6. Griffin

     /  December 28, 2015

    Thank you for another great post Robert. It will be very interesting to see how this system works out and the impacts that it will bring. It seems as if the weather has pounced in many different areas with incredible force over the last couple of weeks.

    Reply
    • I was reading about the recent outbreak of tornadoes in Northern California and couldn’t help thinking about the eerie similarities to that silly movie The Day After Tommorrow. Central US flooding and storms have been pretty amazingly bad over the past few days as well. But I honestly can’t believe we’re even briefly hitting above 1 C at the pole during December. That and a 4 C departure for the entire Arctic later this week is very bad news.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  December 28, 2015

        I agree with you Robert. This latest post of yours is very ominous to me. Such big changes in circulation and storm tracks, it just makes me wonder what we will see next.
        I have been following the developments of the US storm this weekend and I came across the Accuweather live blog. The updates really are just insane to read! I-40 shut down for 390 miles, I-70 shut down from flooding, an entire county with nearly every road closed from flooding… it is just crazy.

        http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/live-road-closures-total-hundr/54428497

        Reply
        • That thing’s just creeping along. It’s moving much slower than forecast. We’re getting storms that are training over the same area which is why we have so much flooding and snowfall in certain regions. Not to mention the fact that this is a rather large storm with a very broad coverage.

          Given these reports it looks like the entire Central US is in for a rough few days. Meanwhile, it seems the West Coast is dodging the bullet for the moment. The moisture is there, but the storm track just can’t get far enough south due to the hot blob. For the moment, it appears the blob is winning.

      • PlazaRed

         /  December 28, 2015

        This temp anomaly is very interesting, even more so when you consider that at the moment of 28th December there is no sunlight to help to warm anything up from the north of Iceland to the pole.
        You have to consider that inside the Arctic circle at the moment, there is no direct sunlight at all and it will be quite a few weeks until it effectively starts to return!

        Reply
        • A pretty stark reminder of how increasing GHG levels deliver more net heating at times of darkness and when and where the sun is at low angle. It’s blanket ability to re-radiate heat is what’s at issue here. That and the fact that the North Pole sits atop a warming world ocean makes for a bit of a double whammy.

  7. DrFog

     /  December 28, 2015

    At first I found it hard to believe that the North Pole was expected to see temperatures in the range of 1-2 degrees Celsius this coming Wednesday but then went looking for the GFS forecast for temperatures at 2 m:

    http://www.meteociel.fr/modeles/gfse_3d.php?lat=90&lon=0&ech=54&zoom=5
    (you can use the mouse pointer to rotate the globe)

    and indeed at early hours of Wednesday very high temperatures are forecast for the North Pole. Don’t know how unprecedented this is but if this keeps reoccurring the Arctic ice has no chances.

    Reply
    • We’re steadily losing Winter as a season. We keep on emitting and it just turns into something else.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 28, 2015

        Winter is slowly vanishing, and the other seasons have started to blend together. Any weather can happen pretty much any time of year now. If the North Pole can get above freezing in the middle of Winter, then no place is safe.

        Reply
      • DrFog

         /  December 28, 2015

        I agree that winters at northern latitudes as known since before and after the dawn of agriculture/civilization are now morphing into something that is quite different from what winters used to be, though don’t think the four seasons will disappear with the increasing mean temperature.

        From what I’ve read, it looks like summers will have even more periods of unbearable hot weather, spring and autumn will be more like what summer used to be and winter morphing into a spring/autumn type season.

        Unfortunately I don’t see this human addiction to cheap low entropy carbon based energy weaning off soon. Temperatures will keep on increasing while forests and biodiversity will keep on decreasing, with exception maybe of insects like mosquitoes, flies, fleas and cockroaches to compound the misery of those having to live in a hellish hothouse.

        Despite the unprecedented floods (again) in northern UK, I could not find even a small reference or a hint to AGW on the BBC website, specially on its science and environment section as one would expect:

        http://www.bbc.com/news/science_and_environment

        On the other hand Deutsche Welle interviewed today Prof. Mojib Latif, a climate scientist at Kiel university (DE) and he clearly stated that AGW played a role on the frequency and severity of what would otherwise be a normal weather event. Asked if he thought the UK government was doing enough to combat AWG he replied “No”.

        Reply
        • So what I’m talking about are proxy indicators showing that all the major ice sheets tend to go once GHG levels reach 550 to 650 ppm CO2 or equivalent. Without the major ice sheets to buffer the polar air masses, you end up with a winter season that’s not really winter– more like the autumn/spring that you describe. In addition, the added insulation due to heightened GHG also results in less difference between overall temperatures between both winter and summer as well as day and night. It’s this blanket effect of GHG that tends to snuff out the typical seasonal variation that we’re used to. Not to say that there would be no variation. But that it would be far more muted, in the end.

  8. labmonkey2

     /  December 28, 2015

    I can only imagine the collateral impacts to farming and water supplies in the region will be more that expected, since it seems these storms and current weather trends are also more extreme than even the best models predicted.
    Certainly will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next several months.

    Climate Change Refugees will control the [news] cycle for quite a while.

    Reply
    • The winter storms are just starting to ramp up. Next few months indeed. I really hope people are getting serious about this. We need to not just be serious about disaster response this year, but doing our best to prevent as much worsening of the situation as possible. We really are in a long emergency. But it’s not at all an issue of running out of fossil fuels. In fact, if we were actually running out of fossil fuels as fast as some had indicated, then we’d be much better off.

      Reply
      • James Burton

         /  December 28, 2015

        “Winter Storms are just starting to ramp up” Can I take that to mean that even worse storms and rain events could hit Britain over the coming months? If so, then this ought to have government calling a crisis event right now, and look at what they can do just to deal with what is coming. The north has been pounded and soaked so badly already, if more and worse storms are on the way, then Cameron might stop worrying about his overseas polices and consider his duty to Britain.
        Is it really possible worse storms could plow into the UK soon?

        Reply
  9. “the start of a dangerous transition period away from the stable climates of the Holocene”

    Indeed! A more easily recognisable manifestation of the transition. Poor polar bears, seals, walruses, indigenous peopes, etc.

    Thanks for the information.

    Robin Fresno, California

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  10. – Meanwhile, in AK

    NWS Anchorage ‏@NWSAnchorage 2h2 hours ago

    #Alaska, expect a pattern change as much warmer air will move into much of the state. Check out why below! #AKwx

    Reply
    • We’re getting a weakening Jet Stream in coordination with a monster El Nino. Equatorial heat is now heading in train to the Arctic. A very odd pattern.

      Reply
      • Yeah, it’s like turning on a blow dryer for wet hair, and aiming it at the pole.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 28, 2015

        I guess that answers our questions from earlier in the year as far as whether or not any heat from El Nino would make its way to the Arctic.

        Reply
        • Absolutely. It’s a pretty incredible Equator to Pole heat train setting up and striking through the usual weak points at the Barents and Bering. So we have El Niño as an Arctic melt enabler in a record warm year. The Jet is no longer strong enough to keep the warmth out, even at times of record El Niño when the circumpolar wind field would tend to be at its strongest. The response from the Arctic will be melt. Sea ice melt, permafrost and glaciers. The response will be stronger than what we have tended to see in the models and all that melt will push hard to re-establish those circumpolar winds. And that’s when the storms really start to get bad. We’ll see increasing glacial melt and an increasing tendency for strong El Niño at the same time. And that will really get those circumpolar winds and storm tracks raging. We’re in the ramp up now.

  11. Sarah

     /  December 28, 2015

    At risk of sounding very “What’s in it for me-ish” does any of this have any clear implications for the “Godzilla El Niño” events they’ve been predicting for the west coast of the US? So far we’re just getting teaser weather that hasn’t been particularly kind. Does this all work back around to a continually magnifying situation out here? No effect? Lessening effect?

    Reply
    • Overall, heat in the Western Pacific has been shoving the storm track northward. So far, strong storms have only managed to make it as far south as Northern California and only sporadically. Storms are still getting bottled up in the Gulf of Alaska. We do have a moisture feed coming into the West Coast at this time. However, unless the storm track swings south, this will not be a typical El Nino weather pattern. But considering how much moisture loading and instability we currently have if we do get a late southward swing the resulting systems are likely to be very heavy.

      All in all it’s still El Nino vs the hot blob. And the hot blob at the moment appears to be winning.

      Reply
  12. El Volcán de Colima. 58 horas en 113 segundos. Navidad 2015

    Reply
  13. – This sort of behavior kind of fits our times.

    Associated Press
    SAN DIEGO

    Authorities have identified a man they say plunged to his death from a San Diego cliff while using a camera or cellphone.

    The county medical examiner’s office says 33-year-old Joshua Burwell of Sheridan, Ind., was visiting Southern California when he slipped and plunged 40 feet onto the rocks from a beach cliff on Christmas Day.

    His mother, Sharyle Burwell, says in a Facebook post that he died while taking pictures. She says he leaves a son.

    San Diego lifeguard Bill Bender says witnesses reported seeing the man looking at an electronic device before he fell.

    However, the device hasn’t been located.
    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article51827035.html

    Reply
  14. – The majestic Monarchs. Know too that they don’t just flap and fly — they do quite a bit of gliding like sky sailors.

    Tne Monarch: A Butterfly Beyond Borders – preview

    Reply
    • Chip Taylor and Lincoln Brower, wonderful people I have had the pleasure to know are featured.

      Reply
    • DrFog

       /  December 29, 2015

      Quite good documentary, thanks. I didn’t know about these Monarch butterflies and looks like a lot is still not known about them, specially how they find their way to the Mexican forest.

      The 2 million tonnes of pesticides now being used annually in the world, most of it in the USA will not be kind to these colourful migratory insects.

      Reply
  15. mlparrish

     /  December 28, 2015

    -45F on a Christmas Day. That is what Richard Proennecke reported in his documentary on his 30 or so years in what is now Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. It was a breathtakingly clear day. I am not sure of the year, anywhere from 1950’s to 1970’s. He kept a record of temperatures. Wunderground report for Port Alsworth, AK currently clocks at 39F and overcast.

    Reply
    • This really is a bad scenario for the Arctic if it keeps up. El Nino heat being aimed at all that cold and ice in the midst of winter. It’s just bad news.

      Reply
      • Apneaman

         /  December 28, 2015

        Could make the US Navy’s 2016 Arctic blue ocean prediction a reality.

        Reply
      • danabanana

         /  December 28, 2015

        “This really is a bad scenario for the Arctic”

        Was there ever a good scenario on the cards? must’ve missed it.

        Reply
        • Well, the slightly better scenario included an El Niño that produced enough temperature differential between equator and pole to strengthen the Jet and lock remaining cold air in place. Of course, this was a pretty bad scenario for storms, but better for overall Arctic resiliency. What we appear to be learning this year is that Arctic is responding very rapidly and that there’s an ominous tendency of developing teleconnect between Equator and pole.

      • danabanana

         /  December 29, 2015

        “enough temperature differential between equator and pole to strengthen the Jet and lock remaining cold air in place”

        Sure, but J Francis’s work told us differently, that a loss of ice caused an overall weaker Jet Stream and its enhanced waviness would increase the Equator/Pole flow. Arctic ice has not recovered and is now more of slush than old more resilient ice therefore we can expect exactly what we were told about the JT, only that this year the flow comes with an added heat punch.

        Reply
  16. Andy in SD

     /  December 28, 2015

    15% or more concentration for the Arctic is looking extremely bad in case anyone else has not glanced lately.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Reply
  17. Arne

     /  December 28, 2015

    72+F is not the right way to translate a 22°Celsius anomaly into F.
    Follow this example to see why:
    Comparing two temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit, we calculate the difference.
    T1 = 0°C ; T2 = 22°C ; T2-T1 = 22°C
    T1 = 32°F ; T2 = 72°F ; T2-T1 = 40°F
    So a 22°C anomaly translates into a 40°F anomaly. You’ve added the 32 from the formula °F = (°C x 1.8) + 32
    The correct way is simply to multiply by 1.8

    The mistake would show much more clearly if we had a low anomaly. For instance a 1°C anomaly clearly can’t be the same as a 34°F anomaly!

    Other than that, I’ve seen cherry trees blossom in Belgium in early December and baby spruce trees and mushrooms come up on a green Christmas in the Swedish subarctic mountains. It looks like a 72°F anomaly might actually occur someday!

    Reply
    • Arne — mean temp at the North Pole in Winter is in the range of -40 F. To get to just freezing (32 F), you have to be 72 F above baseline. We’re hitting 1-2 C in the forecast which is 73-75 F above what’s typical. I think you may be confused by the reanalyzer site whose graph tops out at +20 C anomaly. Or, you may have been confused by an article linking to this one that misquoted me. In any case, this is a rather big anomaly considering typical North Pole winter time temps. Best. R.

      Reply
  18. DDHelfrich

     /  December 28, 2015

    Thanks, retweeted.

    Reply
  19. Andrew dodds

     /  December 28, 2015

    It’s been a very strange ‘winter’ so far here. We’ve missed the worst of the rain in the southern UK, but temperatures have been freakishly warm, almost always over 10 degrees C.

    Reply
  20. Ryan in New England

     /  December 28, 2015

    Great post Robert! Things are becoming more and more extreme and out of wack. This is Jeff Masters on the four-season weekend storm…

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/punishing-fourseason-storm-grips-us-during-the-holiday-week-killin

    Reply
  21. Ryan in New England

     /  December 28, 2015

    Those temperature departures for the North Pole region are un-freaking-believable! If we start seeing temps above freezing in the high Arctic in the depths of winter I think the sea-ice and permafrost are much more likely to melt sooner rather than later. This is supposed to be the time of year when those areas “recover” from the increasingly warm summers that they are now experiencing. This is bad news all around. Truly remarkable figures. Fantastic job, as usual, Mr Robert!

    Reply
  22. Kevin Jones

     /  December 28, 2015

    Barents Sea about 70% ice free. Cryosphere Today.

    Reply
  23. An amazing post – thank you.

    Reply
  24. Kevin Jones

     /  December 28, 2015

    2 Meter Temps at 0900 UTC 12/30/15 forecast to be above freezing 90N (North Pole) and below freezing at point where New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico meet. (Climatereanalyzer) Wonder when this last happened. Calling all paleoclimateologists?

    Reply
    • Randy Wolfe

       /  December 28, 2015

      It is important to note that the location of the border you mention is at 5000′ of elevation. The average daily low for Douglas, AZ., which is nearby and at 4100′, is below freezing and the record low is 10 F. So while the North Pole anomaly is unthinkable, the other is actually right at nominal. Arizona is actually much colder than many people imagine.

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  December 28, 2015

        Thanks, Randy Wolfe. I’d thought to check elevation and climatology. But didn’t.

        Reply
  25. Griffin

     /  December 28, 2015

    I would like to take a moment and thank all of you. Robert for the time you take to make such informative posts, and all of the readers that take the time to bolster each post with dozens of informative links. As Abel noted above, the media has let us down. This blog has not. This is now the single most informative webpage on the internet that continues to tell the most important story in human history. I read every comment and click on every link. I learn more each time that I do. Thank you all for your contributions to our shared learning. As the old song says, I might be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I am enjoying the ride!

    Reply
    • Malcolm

       /  December 28, 2015

      Second this.

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  December 29, 2015

        “…the single most informative webpage on the internet that continues to tell the most important story in human history.”
        Exactly. It’s deeply gratifying to find a community open to a ‘fearless and searching inventory’ of the end of the world as we know it. I have to admit I’m a little conflicted, as I value the relative privacy of Robert’s select group even as I wish all Industrialized peoples read this blog.
        I want to add that I especially appreciate Robert’s use of rigorous empiricism, heartfelt narrative, and willingness to draw logical, data based conclusions (a la Hansen).. As many here have noted, very few people besides Robert are comprehensively connecting the AGW dots, at least publicly. It’s the combination of narrative elements and hard science that makes this site so compelling.
        As I’ve said before, I think you deserve a much larger platform, Robert – if humans were anywhere near as rational as they think they are, you’d have a nationally syndicated blog. Cheers, and Happy New Year.

        Reply
    • Cheers, Griffin and thanks so much for the kind thoughts. I have to agree that this is a fantastic company full off sharp minds and great hearts. Must say that there isn’t a day that goes by that I, too, don’t learn something new by reading all of your wonderful contributions. And yes, the fact that we can all do this here, together, is a sad commentary for how greatly the media has failed us on the issue of climate change. I’d say they’re getting marginally better. But it isn’t anywhere near up to task. Of course, exceptions like The Guardian and Weather Underground exist. But mainstream broader coverage goes from bad — CNN, BBC, CBS, ABC — to inadequate — NPR and the Weather Channel (the online coverage being the noted exception) — to abhorrently abysmal — Fox News. There’s movement, but it’s not without a great degree of foot dragging. And this during the hottest year on record. One can easily see these sources backsliding post El Niño. Given the current situation, it’s just ludicrous, really. I swear, the most powerful media in the world suffers acute blindness, deafness, and dumbness on the issue of climate change. They just don’t use the language or resources necessary to put this issue where it belongs.

      Reply
      • mfranklin

         /  December 28, 2015

        ABC News online had an excellent story today about bizarre world wide weather events on all the continents, including some new ones I had not even seen on your site,but it all just disappeared off the site after just a few hours. Strange,that is. Especially when stories about D. Trumps latest monkey shines hang around for days.

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 28, 2015

      Right on, Griffin!

      Reply
  26. Robert,

    I just wanted to drop you a note thanking you for all of your tremendous work, including occasionally epic posts such as yesterdays. I and so many others really appreciate your unselfish and extremely talented work. Thank you.

    And of course, Happy New Year.

    Scott

    Reply
    • Scott —

      Thanks so much for the kind words, my good friend. The idea, really, is just to empower people with the means to get ahead of this risk. To understand it in ways that will help forge clear paths towards stronger, more decisive action. To be very clear on what’s at stake here. And everyone pitching in is a huge, huge help. Let’s just keep working to save lives and prevent as much harm as we can.

      I think the weather services are starting to really look at these intrinsic changes, starting to take them more and more seriously. It’s a big change, but I’m still afraid it’s too slow. And government policy is still decades behind the 8 ball here.

      Reply
  27. Connecticut Gordon

     /  December 28, 2015

    Hi Robert

    I don’t think that the weather anomaly of New York has been mentioned recently. The current record variation from the norm was set in January 1932 with 11.5F above normal. December 2015 is on track to shatter that at more than 14F over normal. We had temperatures of more than 72F on Christmas Eve and I think we have had 4 or 5 record daily highs this month already

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/nyregion/white-christmas-not-a-chance-in-an-unusually-balmy-new-york.html?ref=topics

    Is this happening in other cities?

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 28, 2015

      Hey there Gordon! Here in Connecticut the last time I checked we were running about 6 degrees hotter than the previous record December, and we’ve been having temps about a degree or two cooler than in New York. It has been ridiculously warm here.

      Reply
      • Connecticut Gordon

         /  December 29, 2015

        Hi Ryan
        Actually I’m in Connecticut as well; New Fairfield. I wrote it as New York though as I know the temperatures there far better than local ones as there is more written about Central Park records, which is what they actually refer to. New Fairfield temperatures on Christmas Eve were just over 69F, which in itself is impressive.
        I was going to ask Robert whether the models that project when summer ice at arctic will be gone and the 2C limit will be broken may actually be far to conservative. The extreme events we are getting [such as incredible flooding in my native England. plus the bizarre heat and tornado warnings on Christmas day for several states] means that there could be some sort of unidentified feedback loop that will bring all these apocalyptic events far sooner.

        Reply
    • In Maine, the highs have been ridiculous – April weather in December. On the day before Christmas I did a century ride on my bike, with a high of 54. This is absolutely unheard of. Its also probably over for a little while at least — 16 inches of snow tomorrow.

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  December 29, 2015

        In Burlington, VT it was 68F on Christmas eve – that’s ~40F above 1999-present ‘normal.’ Right now there’s 2″ of snow on Mt. Mansfield, where the mean for late December is around 30-35″. The ski areas are looking at the possibility of an effectively snowless winter (in terms of having enough snow to ski on) – it’s cold now but the ground still isn’t frozen, it’s going to be an extremely short and warm winter, and a strong El Nino usually brings much less snow. But 68F on Christmas eve? We’re not anywhere near Kansas anymore, Toto….

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 29, 2015

        It’s absolutely nuts, isn’t it!? I’m a little south of you two, but love to go up to your neck of the woods for snowboarding, hiking, etc. I’ve been running in shorts and a t-shirt. Usually, if we’re having no snow in Connecticut, we can always count on there being snow up north, but this year even those locations (as you describe) aren’t getting snow…until today.

        Reply
  28. PlazaRed

     /  December 28, 2015

    The Arctic sea ice is currently running at a very low level to start with, so this warm air intrusion will be another factor in the reduced ice levels.
    It will be interesting to see what the ice levels are at compared to average a week from now in early January.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

    Reply
    • Looks like we’re within striking distance of a new record low maximum. If that happens, it’s back to back years. But there’s quite a lot of factors determining winter extent. So no lock yet, but well worth watching out for.

      Reply
  29. Jon

     /  December 28, 2015

    Hey Robert I just saw this posted on Facebook. Not sure where this data came from but I’ve been checking around on weather sites and the numbers don’t seem to jive with the story. For instance if you google The North Pole weather forecast for the next 7 days the weather seems pretty typical with temps in the -20 to -30 C range, the same for Iqaluit on Baffin Island. dOnt know if I’ve missed something but would appreciate a link to this data. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Well, I didn’t see that weather forecast on Facebook. But I can say that Baffin Island isn’t the North Pole!

      In any case, the Earth Nullschool forecast above, which is linked, is based on the GFS model forecast. This forecast also compares with other forecasts which bring the North Pole to near or above freezing on Wednesday. In reference, please also see —

      http://www.yr.no/place/North_Pole/Other/North_Pole/

      Reply
  30. Andy in SD

     /  December 28, 2015

    Greenpeace UK in its research took an unconventional approach in which members of the environmentalist groups posed as representatives of fake oil and coal companies. Two climate change skeptics were also asked to write papers promoting the benefits of carbon dioxide and coal in developing countries.

    The two academic groups–Frank Clemente of Pennsylvania State University and William Happer of Princeton University–agreed to write the reports and not to reveal their source of funding.

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 28, 2015

      It’s frightening how much corporate influence can affect all aspects of society. I realize the Greenpeace activists aren’t actual corporations influencing academic writing, but I think it is a window into just how vulnerable any organization or institution is to corporate influence.

      Reply
  31. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 8h8 hours ago

    INTENSE 929 mb hurricane force low near Iceland on 00Z OPC 48-hour Atlantic surface forecast w/winds to 90 knots!

    Reply
  32. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 4h4 hours ago

    12Z OPC analysis & SEVIRI Pseudo-natural color image w/Atlantic low pressure system moving NE & rapidly intensifying

    Reply
  33. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 1h1 hour ago

    12Z operational GFS model slightly faster than most 12Z GEFS members w/intense ~920mb low thru Iceland at 06Z 12/30.

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 28, 2015

      That looks intense. I hope Iceland doesn’t get hit too hard.

      Reply
  34. James Burton

     /  December 28, 2015

    Here is a somewhat personal and professional question rolled into one Robert. ” Did you ever at any time earlier in your career ever believe things could get this bad this fast?” Was it possible to see this coming, or are you about as shocked as the rest of us at how fast events are unfolding?
    It also sounds like the Jet Stream will try to reestablish itself when major melting occurs up north from the heat surges, but it is in doubt whether the cold melt waters can juice up the Jet Stream to a normal strength.
    We asked if this El Nino would not be a normal one, one that did not reflect past experiences and models of El Nino. I guess we have our answer now! Uncharted territories dead ahead!

    Reply
    • In all honesty, I wouldn’t be watching these regions like a hawk if I didn’t believe something unexpected could go down. We’re seeing these extreme events more and more. We’ve pushed the system pretty far out of kilter, so they’re bound to crop up. The baseline science is a good oracle. But what we’re doing is begging extreme and catastrophic events by pushing things so far.

      It’s shocking to see them. But it’s not like we didn’t have some forewarning from scientists like Hansen and Francis. Ever since sea ice loss in the Arctic went off the charts during 2007 and 2012, ever since Greenland and West Antarctic melt really started to hit the up ramp, ever since the Gulf Stream started backing up off the US East Coast, ever since the warm air slots over Bering and Barents opened up, ever since the cool pool started to form in the North Atlantic, and ever since we started to hit around 1 C above normal temps a whole boatload of potential problems and new record events just became more and more likely.

      It’s not that this territory is entirely unknown. We’ve gotten a look at it from afar. But walking through it is another matter entirely. It’s not a friendly place. And that can be rather jarring even if you have some idea what to expect.

      Reply
  35. – USA River levels may be newsworthy in the near future as rainfall continues.

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  December 28, 2015

    “Flood events have become more likely than 20 to 30 years ago,” said Malcolm Tarling, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers, an industry group. “What was once classified as extreme is now being classified as normal.”

    The group estimated that flooding in Cumbria in northwest England this month would cost insurers about £520 million. More recent flooding had the potential to cost more because flooded areas like the center of York and parts of Leeds include more businesses, Mr. Tarling said, and the average business insurance claim is higher than the average household claim.

    In some of the areas hit by flooding there has already been more than three times as much rain as normal in December, Ms. Yeomans said, and more rain was expected from a storm that was to begin lashing Britain on Tuesday evening.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/29/world/europe/david-cameron-defends-flood-defense-record-as-northern-england-is-drenched.html?_r=0

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  December 29, 2015

      And all to save £200 million on flood defences, in pursuit of an austerity agenda that economists say is based on dogma around a small state rather than economics. And much greater financial loss and severe human suffering results.

      Most days I find myself despairing that my countrymen elected this ship of fools to office. Mitigation, adaptation or suffering – they chose the latter. We would be utterly lost but for those few candles burning in the darkness, such as this blog and the fine climate hawk community I am proud to call myself a member of trying to tell the truth on social media and in daily conversation.

      And yet again Hansen is shown as prescient – he’s damn right that 2C will be disastrous.

      Reply
  37. Holy Toledo, look at the size of that system — it’s as big of all of Europe! Who was it who warned us of frontal systems the size of continents and the strength of hurricanes?😉

    Reply
  38. PlazaRed

     /  December 28, 2015

    Probably about midnight tomorrow, 29th December 2015.
    Basic unmodified north Atlantic chart:-

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#2015/12/29/2100Z/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-28.29,42.72,550

    Reply
  39. – The Heritage Foundation and the sundry fools in their fold. Watch their linguistic abuse of truth and reason.

    State Lawmakers Urged to Question Taxpayer-Subsidized Climate ‘Alarmists’

    HOT SPRINGS, Va.—Conservative lawmakers, scholars and activists say it’s time for the Virginia General Assembly to look into the taxpayer funding of academics who don’t want President Obama to tolerate dissenting views on climate change.

    The question, they told The Daily Signal, is why taxpayers should pay for the work of radical academics and scientists who want Obama to launch a racketeering investigation of organizations that have an open mind on how much mankind contributes to global warming.
    http://dailysignal.com/2015/12/28/state-lawmakers-urged-to-question-taxpayer-subsidized-climate-alarmists/

    Reply
    • Alabama Governor Rebuilds Mansion With Oil Spill Money

      Alabama’s Republican Governor, Robert Bentley, has moved to divert money from the BP oil spill recovery funding to pay for renovations on a second Governor’s mansion.

      $1.5 million of the $1.8 million granted from the settlement in the Deepwater Horizon spill, will be used to fix up the mansion, an abandoned a 7500 square-foot beachfront property. The mansion was abandoned after Hurricane Danny in 1997.

      Meanwhile, residents and business in Alabama are still suffering from the aftereffects of the spill.

      Governor Bentley says that the new mansion will be renovated in order to impress executives that are interested in investing in the state. He denies that it has anything to do with the fact that he just lost two of his own beachfront properties to his ex-wife in his recent divorce.
      http://www.nationofchange.org/news/2015/12/28/alabama-governor-rebuilds-mansion-with-oil-spill-money/?platform=hootsuite

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 29, 2015

        What a dirtbag. It’s sad, our political system has legitimized bribery and legalized corruption. This sort of behavior has become normal.

        Reply
  40. A television tower pokes above a blanket of smog in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Severe air pollution in the city has prompted authorities to ask drivers to use their motor vehicles less, while city dwellers have been told to cut their movements in the mornings and evenings.

    Reply
  41. Ryan in New England

     /  December 28, 2015

    A few words from Jeff Masters’ blog about the extreme weather that occurred over the holiday. The part that caught my eye (other than the four season storm in Texas) was
    the heat record in Philadelphia…never has any month seen so many record highs since record keeping began. That is remarkable. It seems we are seeing an increase in unprecedented events.

    Christmas Day was the apex for the north-south breadth of warmth, with record highs set from Florida (82°F in Jacksonville) to Maine (62°F in Portland). Many records on Thursday and Friday were smashed by margins of 10°F or more. The Christmas Eve readings of 72°F at Albany, NY, and 68°F at Burlington, VT, both set all-time records for December. As noted by WU weather historian Chris Burt, these are truly impressive records given the late date in a month that gets progressively colder, not to mention the long periods of record at both sites (since 1883 in Burlington and 1874 in Albany). Chris adds that Philadelphia has seen eight days this month through Sunday with record daily highs: “Not since records began in Philadelphia back in 1874 has any other month of any single year experienced as many daily record highs as this December!” The capital of Christmas commerce, New York City, basked in record warmth of 72°F on Thursday and 66°F on Friday. As of Sunday, Central Park had yet to get below 32°F this fall or winter; its monthly average (12/1 – 12/26) of 52.0°F was running at an astonishing 13.8°F above normal and 7.9°F above the previous December record, going back to 1871.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/punishing-fourseason-storm-grips-us-during-the-holiday-week-killin

    Reply
  42. – USA S/W Methane 4 Corners

    Reply
    • LYBROOK — As scientists continue their work tracking sources of atmospheric methane in the Four Corners region, the federal government continues to formulate new rules intended to reduce oil and gas industry emissions.

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — which is proposing new rules to better regulate methane emissions — projects emissions from the oil and gas industry will increase as technology that includes horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing makes marginal operations like some of those in the San Juan Basin’s Mancos shale play economically feasible. The Bureau of Land Management is also working on a methane waste rule.
      http://www.daily-times.com/story/news/local/four-corners/2015/12/27/scientists-study-methane-hot-spot-sources/77462312/

      Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 29, 2015

        There is a video on YouTube about this hot spot at the Four Corners. The author zooms in with Google Earth from space, and shows a what at first looks kind of like a spider web with squarish commas attached to it.

        The spider web is dirt roads, when zoomed closer to ground level, and the commas are fracking pads. There are thousands of these things – the one area in he shows in northern New Mexico is about 80 miles wide, and it’s just covered with these natural gas fracking wells. There is other extensive gas processing infrastructure in the area.

        This is not scientific evidence that the methane hot spot is caused by natural gas fracking and processing. But it seems like a huge, obvious clue to what is going on. NASA says it has not been surprised by anything they found…meaning pretty obviously that fracking and other natural gas associated operations are to blame.

        The fracking industry is “pushing back” meanwhile, pointing to other natural emissions sources. Funny how other areas, which have those same natural emissions sources, don’t have a methane concentration hot spot.

        Maybe if each fracking pad had a huge neon sign on it blinking “methane…methane…methane…” – visible from space – maybe then the corporate press could see the connection and stop beating around the bush about the mysterious cause of this hot spot.

        Reply
  43. Griffin

     /  December 29, 2015

    Good short video that shows the amount of water covering highway 70 in Pocahontas, Illinois. I am sure that many readers have driven by this very spot.

    Reply
  44. Leland Palmer

     /  December 29, 2015

    Hi Robert-

    Great article about a terrible and ominous series of events, as always.

    Generally, after the pulse of heat from El Nino, average temperatures decline for a few years, I guess But this time? Dunno.

    Reply
    • Well, actually the atmospheric temperature peak typically occurs a few months after El Nino peak. With this El Nino predicted to last until mid to late summer at least, we are possibly looking at three back to back record warm years. That’s a rather big deal. But, yes, after El Nino does finally fade, we get a bit of a drop back to slightly less-hot global atmospheric temps for a while. But that doesn’t mean heat isn’t still building in the global climate system, because it certainly is. It just won’t show up as much in the atmosphere post strong El Nino. We’ll absolutely continue to see both ice melt and extreme weather ramping up. We’ll also tend to see more and more in the way of these ongoing Arctic feedbacks we’ve witnessed thus far. So the transition away from El Nino doesn’t bring too much of a respite, just to the global atmospheric temperature side of the equation.

      Reply
  45. Leland Palmer

     /  December 29, 2015

    Hi Everyone-

    I apologize in advance for posting this image. It’s not the sort of “mind furniture” any of us want, but part of what we do on this blog is tell the unpleasant truth, I think.

    There is a virus that people in Brazil are fearing is linked to a mosquito borne virus – the Zika virus. The connection of this virus to the apparently huge jump in a specific birth defect – microcephaly – is not yet proven, according to the CDC in the U.S.

    But Brazilians are insisting that such a huge jump in this birth defect – thousands of cases – is not coincidental.

    Even if the Zika virus is the cause of this birth defect, the link between mosquito borne diseases and global warming is probably generally correct but single virus outbreaks cannot conclusively be linked to global warming, likely, so far as I know.

    Call me biased, but I believe myself that global warming is linked to this virus, and this virus is causing this birth defect. I would pay real money to be proven wrong.

    Poor little guy. If not for the Zika virus, he might have been the next Einstein, or the guy who figured out how to make thermonuclear fusion a practical energy source. He might have saved us all!

    Instead, his mother bathes him in a bucket several times a day to calm him, and he is apparently just smart enough to appreciate it.

    This global warming is just awful.

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  December 29, 2015

      Link:
      http://tucson.com/news/world/brazil-fears-birth-defects-linked-to-mosquito-borne-virus/article_0fd6d8b7-5a6e-56ba-b3d5-5b11364771c8.html

      “More than 2,700 babies have been born in Brazil with microcephaly this year, up from fewer than 150 in 2014. Brazil’s health officials say they’re convinced the jump is linked to a sudden outbreak of the Zika virus…”

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  December 29, 2015

      Sad indeed, but no need to apologize, we are often guilty of not showing or talking about topics, that should concern us all. Images of corpses after typhoons, burnt and distressed animals after wildfire and spills can be very disturbing, but we need to face realism and not pretend that all is rosy and under control. We must stop avoiding talking about climate change and the consequences, how many people (that you know) have talked about the fact that EXXON and peers knew about the science in the 1970’s ????. Nobody I know seems the slightest bit concerned about it, only one person I know was slightly angry at V.W for disguising diesel emissions. EXXON, Koch and co are far far worse. Yet indifference.

      Reply
    • The connection of virus and microcephaly (and, in adults, Guillain-Barré syndrome) is being made in firmer grounds each week. It took doctors in Brasil by surprise, as this had not been observed in previous Zika epidemies (not of which ever happened in Brasil, nor in huge populations). In the first alerts about the Zika virus, it was an afternote, as doctors were more concerned about the chikungunya virus (which also reached Brasil at almost the same time).

      The first doctors that noticed what was happening were a mother and daughter duo in Northeast Brasil, who were chatting about cases and noticed that microcephaly cases were way up: between the hospitals were the two of them worked, there had been more cases in the month when they were discussing than in the previous decade in Brasil (it WAS rare before).

      Microcephaly wasn’t a disease that had to be notified to authorities before, so no one had complete epidemiologic data, but the alert was made to the Health Ministery and a cause for the epidemics was searched for. This is the beggining of the epidemy, and Zika was not tested for in most of the pregnant women that are having microcephalic babies now.

      The hypotheses is that the worst time for being infected is in the first trimester of pregnancy, and 6 months ago people were NOT testing for zika. Tests are being offered hapzhardly now, even though the danger has been established. Testing to see which virus is causing a disease is rare in Brasil, most diagnostics are made just by symtoms. Six woman who had been tested and had microcephalic babies HAD zika (these are basically all pregnant women who had this test this long ago) and searching for antibodies against the virus in mothers having microcephalic babies now is yelding a pretty big correlation.

      In this specific case, I would not pin this in climate change, but in globalization. The vector of the virus, Aedes aegypt is well established in Brasil since the 1900s, and we still have dengue epidemics (endemics?) every summer. Last year was one of the biggest in number of cases. But the Zika came to Brasil with the tourists coming to see the World Footbal Cup of 2014, and it spread fast, as its vector was established and populous (Aedes aegypt is the most common mosquito in cities in Brasil, even thought it’s not an native species… or maybe because of that).

      And, ironically, Zika is a slang world in Brasil, meaning “big trouble/hazard”.

      As there’s no vaccine nor treatment (there are results being show in a medical congress this week that show that the virus causes points of necrosis in the fetus brain, and this causes the microcephaly. Link in Portuguese of a brasilian news media article: http://www.paraiba.com.br/2015/12/28/61859-zika-virus-causa-necrose-cerebral ), the official advice right now is “don’t get pregnant”. For those already pregnant (I have a friend who received the doctor’s confirmation of her pregnancy in the same day that the link between virus and microcephaly was in the papers), long sleeved blouses and mosquito repelent.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 29, 2015

        Thank you so much for that informative information, Umbrios! You always provide great reports from the ground and insight into your region of the world.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  December 30, 2015

        As Ryan said, THANK YOU for teaching us so much about this! Amazing and brutally sad to me. I hate mosquitoes.

        Reply
      • Griffin, Ryan, I thank you all. Robert’s blog is the most informative and useful that I known of, and the comments are usually in such a high level of knowledge that I normally only chip in when we’re talking about Brasil, as in those cases I feel that I can bring some value to the discussion. But I do follow all posts since 2013. I lurked for quite a while, it’s a pleasure to listen to those wiser than me.

        Reply
        • Huge, huge credit to Robert for moderating so that all of us don’t waste our time dealing with denier trolling. That’s tremendously helpful in making the comments worth reading.

      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 30, 2015

        Thanks, umbrios2, for the great information. Fantastic. Zika likely has more of a connection to globalization than to global warming- good to know. Good luck down there in Brazil.

        Reply
  46. Andy in SD

     /  December 29, 2015

    As many as 58 million large trees in California are threatened by a record drought afflicting the state since 2011, says a study published yesterday (Dec 28).

    http://www.todayonline.com/world/americas/more-50-million-california-trees-threatened-drought

    Reply
  47. – Very good, Robert.
    The post itself was of the highest caliber.
    DT

    – Environmental blogger Robert Scribbler notes this storm will be linked within a “daisy chain” of two other powerful North Atlantic low pressure systems forming a “truly extreme storm system.” – WaPo 12/28

    – If predicting the weather is difficult, interpreting it is devilishly so. Mr Fanney, however, suggests that the storm is “concordant with human-forced warming” of the planet, and his posting seeks to link this and similar weather systems with known observations…
    – arcticjournal.com 12/28

    – “We’ve probably never seen weather like what’s being predicted for a vast region stretching from the North Atlantic to the North Pole and on into the broader Arctic this coming week,” said Robert Scribbler, an environmental blogger. – theage.com.au

    Reply
    • I’m kinda floored by how far this post has gone. But I stand by my assertion that what we’re seeing now in the form of extreme North Atlantic weather as well as these severe Arctic warming episodes are events falling into line with what some of the cutting edge science predicted. These are the early, easy outliers of the storms Hansen warned us about. It’s what happens when polar amplification starts softening up the big ice sheets and when atmospheric heat transfers link Equator to Pole.

      Reply
  48. – On another note — “I told you so…” :
    Back when the Exxon story first came out, I said that everyone else in the cartel had to have known too. It just stood to reason.

    By Neela Banerjee, InsideClimate News
    Dec 22, 2015

    Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too
    Members of an American Petroleum Institute task force on CO2 included scientists from nearly every major oil company, including Exxon, Texaco and Shell.
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/22122015/exxon-mobil-oil-industry-peers-knew-about-climate-change-dangers-1970s-american-petroleum-institute-api-shell-chevron-texaco

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  December 29, 2015

      I remember having discussions in the mid 1970’s with fellow colleagues, we were all sure that petroleum companies were buying and hiding patents for alternative energy sourced items, none of is thought that they had any scruples or ethics back then. In those days people were more vocal in protests, seems something happened to society to make unethical business practices more acceptable.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 29, 2015

        redskylite, have you ever seen the documentary Gas-Hole? It’s about cars that could get hundreds of miles per gallon in the mid-twentieth century and patents not being developed and inventors being intimidated or dying. Very interesting, and in my mind, not a ridiculous idea. Powerful corporations (oil companies especially it seems) always choose the bottom line over morals, it’s required by law. Those who don’t think that oil companies would be that “evil” have no idea about the military intervention that the oil industry has required throughout its existence to secure resources. They had no moral scruples about that.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 29, 2015

        One pretty well documented instance of patent encumbrance by oil industry associated businesses is what happened to the electric car, the GM EV1. An inventor named Standford Ovshinsky (and his wife) invented the batteries for it – nickel metal hydride batteries.

        It’s a long story, but the battery technology ended up owned by a division of Chevron – Cobasys – and Cobasys for years apparently aggressively defended their patents while refusing to produce large format nickel metal hydride batteries in the United States.

        Wikipedia – Patent encumbrance of large automotive NiMH batteries

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH_batteries#Timeline_of_legal_status_of_the_Ovonics_battery_technology

        These Ovshinsky patents seem to still have a chilling effect on large format NiMH battery production in the United States. NiMH batteries don’t have the energy density of Lithium Ion – but they last much longer, I think.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  December 29, 2015

        Leland, that is a perfect example. They will do anything possible to prevent others from taking market share from them. We possess the intelligence and inventiveness to be living in a far more evolved civilization, but greedy and ruthless corporate interests have been holding us back since they first came into existence.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  December 31, 2015

        Maybe one of the reasons they are pushing for a CO2 tax.
        Make a Squillion both ways from releasing some of that suppressed technology under their patents at high margins

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  December 31, 2015

        Here’s a much weaker and more uncertain example, but one with a much greater potential impact if there is some truth to it.

        Philo Farnsworth was the inventor of electronic television. He was a visionary inventor, an a true autodidact – able to teach himself very high level mathematics and physics. He had more than 160 patents, many of them having to do with vacuum tubes. He invented electronic television – and the electronic television camera. He may have been the best vacuum electronics inventor that ever lived – he produced one vacuum tube invention after another, for years.

        He became interested in thermonuclear fusion, and invented the concept of inertial electrostatic fusion. These “fusors” actually worked, producing many fusion reactions and large neutron fluxes – proof that fusion is actually taking place.

        But so far, this type of fusion appears to be a dead end – energy required to run the process is always orders of magnitude larger than the fusion energy produced, so far. There are good theoretical reasons to believe that this will always be true – when applied to the machines that currently exist.

        Farnsworth put his own money into developing fusors, and also got backing from ITT – International Telephone and Telegraph. ITT controlled the fusor patents – and refused near the end of Farnsworth’s life to either sell them or allow Farnsworth to use them.

        Farnsworth’s Mark III Fusor has never been independently tested. Farnsworth claimed that his Mark III fusor with its higher electrostatic potential and eight ion guns was able to produce concentrations of high density fusion plasma with multiple layers like an onion – he called these “poissors” named after the French mathematician Simeon Denis Poisson. Later experiments failed to produce these poissors. Hersh, Farnsworths co-inventor and other critics claimed that the Farnsworth’s Mark III Fusor was a very expensive experiment that didn’t work. Hersh later went on to become head of the Atomic Energy Commission – and I have wondered myself in my more paranoid moments if this was a payoff for his sidetracking of Farnsworth’s research into a dead end, relying more on grids than on ion guns.

        But, in today’s money, it would cost only a million or two dollars to reproduce Farnsworth’s Mark III Fusor – not the tens of billions of dollars spent on large magnetic fusion machines. The existence or not of poissors has never been confirmed or conclusively denied, so far as I know.

        There may have been a Wall Street campaign to ruin Farnsworth, that succeeded. There are allegations that this is the case. There are allegations that the nuclear power industry was afraid of Farnsworth, and wanted him silenced. Certainly Farnsworth, the inventor of electronic television and an entire industry producing billions of dollars per year in sales, died financially ruined, unable to use his own patents to develop fusion energy or raise money to investigate further. ITT refused to allow Farnsworth to use his own patents, and they refused to sell them to him.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor

        Reply
        • I’m not sure about the fusor. But if one thinks about how static the power industry has been over the past Century, how new innovation has moved at a snail’s pace, then it’s pretty clear that there may well be quite a lot of benefit coming from the old industry’s disruption. Old patents like this one may be re-tested or unearthed. Some will inevitably be dead ends. But there always is an off chance that some great innovation did get squashed and ends up having new life as a result.

          To be very clear, though, we have replacements for fossil fuels now already. And there are vast political and economic forces that are still arrayed against them despite the obvious proof of the old fuel’s terribly destructive nature occurring in these freak weather and climate events now, globally, on a nearly daily basis. So it’s not just a new energy source that is needed, we have some of those already. And it’s not just an obvious crisis that’s affecting people everywhere. It’s the fall of an old, powerful, and now very destructive order that is necessary. An order that is pervasive and influential as any that has ever existed.

        • Correct, there is pretty much a one-to-one correlation between the bogus groups spreading climate change denial and the bogus groups attacking renewable energy. Thankfully, renewables are extremely popular and so the attacks haven’t gained that much traction, except, of course, with the politicians that are on the take from Big Oil.

    • They’ve done everything they could to game it, including attempting to make peak oil out to be a worse crisis than climate change. The level of cynical foreknowledge needed to put together these media campaigns, to suppress scientists and journalists, to strong arm major news sources would have to have been quite deep and exacting. They definitely knew what was going on and they tried to manipulate both the public and political environment to prevent action for as long as possible. It’s pretty sick, really. I swear, there are instances of industry stooping to inhuman lows for the sake of profit. But this particular instance has to be the absolute worst, the most deceptive and, in the end, downright hurtful and harmful. It’s industrialized ritual human sacrifice.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  January 2, 2016

        There is an excellent post and video on Climate Crocks showing the depravity of some, the exposure made possible by an Oilman with integrity
        http://climatecrocks.com/2015/12/30/most-popular-post-of-2015-thanks-dr-evil-fossil-fuel-propaganda-misfire-goes-viral/

        “What Mr. Berman did not know — and what could now complicate his task of marginalizing environmental groups that want to impose limits on fracking — is that one of the energy industry executives recorded his remarks and was offended by them.

        “That you have to play dirty to win,” said the executive, who provided a copy of the recording and the meeting agenda to The New York Times under the condition that his identity not be revealed. “It just left a bad taste in my mouth.”

        A very powerfull article that I recommend you read, especially the admission his son wrote.
        It is this sort of demon and their evil clients that are destroying our world

        Reply
  49. For interest this is a good resource for checking temperatures around the Arctic – http://www.athropolis.com/map2.htm

    Reply
  50. Robert, I sent a story idea about you to Democracy Now.

    “Climate blogger Robert Fanney at robertscribbler.com is getting more recognition for his important and timely posts. You should talk to him.
    A recent sample: [ My above blurbs of other media linking to you.] “

    Reply
  51. Vic

     /  December 29, 2015

    Good luck with the denier backlash Robert.

    Reply
  52. Vic

     /  December 29, 2015

    Switzerland has experienced its warmest December since the country began keeping records 150 years ago.

    “it’s especially pronounced at higher altitudes.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/29/switzerland-has-warmest-december-ever-as-average-temperatures-rise-34c

    Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  December 29, 2015

      It sounds really bad for the skiing industry, with a lot of seasonal unemployment on the cards.

      In Spain the Sierra Nevada mountains above Granada are virtually snow free and there is not a lot of snow on any of the other Spanish ski slopes.
      No point in making snow with machines if the temps are well above freezing!
      Images of rocky slopes and green patches were shown on the news.

      Reply
  53. Vic

     /  December 29, 2015

    This one’s got Bill Gates written all over it…

    “Two of the world’s largest technology firms, IBM and Microsoft, are vying to tap the fast-growing market for forecasting air quality in the world’s top carbon emitters.”

    “The two tech rivals are not just competing over government clients. Business clients – in particular renewable power generation companies – are another target, along with consumers. Already more than 30 solar farms in China are using IBM’s forecasting technology, which can also help predict the availability of sunlight.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/29/forecasting-chinas-smog-seen-as-business-opportunity-for-ibm-and-microsoft

    Reply
  54. Reblogged this on The Pale Blue Dot.

    Reply
  55. Ryan in New England

     /  December 29, 2015

    So I was just pondering the astonishing reality that the North Pole will see above freezing temps in the dead of Winter, after the Winter Solstice, at the darkest time of year when ice should be growing like crazy in cold like nothing those of us at lower latitudes have ever experienced in our lives. The North Pole as recently as the early 20th century was still a mythical place untouched by man (modern Western civilization anyway) and was the epitome of a deadly cold, formidable environment. And now for a moment, at the coldest time of year, we could be there standing outside in a sweatshirt without a hat or gloves! I realize it’s still an inhospitable region, and you still can’t just go to the North Pole for a fun weekend, I’m just making a point.

    So I got to wondering…what if decades or even centuries in the future this moment is recognized as the beginning of a transition to a hothouse world where there is effectively no more severe cold left anywhere on the planet? That is, if we retain civilization and/or records of this moment in time. Many times when we’ve witnessed an unprecedented event related to a changing climate in recent decades that type of event has happened again, and again and becomes much more frequent in time. I’m thinking of the graph by James Hansen that illustrates the shifting frequencies of temperature anomalies by two standard deviations, and how the ratio of hot to cold records has been growing greatly in favor of heat records. Along those lines, could this be the moment (it will be recognized in retrospect long after it occurs) when real warmth starts to chip away at the remaining refuges of deep cold that still exist in our world? For me, it is a frightening idea.

    Thoughts?

    Reply
    • So if we think about this in terms of greenhouse gas forcing, where are we now?

      Right now, at 400 ppm CO2 (soon to be 405 ppm) and 485 ppm CO2e (soon to be 490 CO2e), we have enough heat forcing to melt all of Greenland and West Antarctica as well as enough to melt some of East Antarctica. If we hit the range of 550 ppm CO2 or equivalent forcing we’ll be entering a range where all the major glaciers on the Earth will eventually melt.

      What does that mean for Winter and for temperature variations? Well, it means that the winter season and the bastions of cold are all under assault now. It means that we’re witnessing a period of time when the very cold periods and regions are about to really start to warm up and lose their ice. We see it now in the Arctic Ocean which is perhaps the weakest of the remaining bastions of cold. But Greenland and West Antarctica will not be too far behind. We see the changes starting now and we are entering a very dramatic and unstable time for both weather and climates. It’s a time that will probably last for decades to centuries. But we’re in it now and it just gets worse as we continue to emit greenhouse gasses.

      Reply
  56. According to NCEP/NCAR reanalysis (1948-2014) the North Pole has been warmer than 0C in December 3 times before.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CXXVSsHUMAANcuO.jpg:large

    And the average temp in dec is ~ -30C

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, TDG. Looks like the range we have is -40 NASA/Woods Hole, -20 re analysis, and -30 NCAR. With three days in the record above freezing, this is worth a bit of an update.

      Reply
    • Actually, looking at the NCAR graph, I see only one other winter-time day near freezing at the North Pole. The other two occur during early December as the region was still cooling off into Winter.

      Reply
  57. PlazaRed

     /  December 29, 2015

    Interesting bit of news on the Spanish national midday news.
    The ozone hole over the Antarctic is now about 24 million sq. kilometres, apparently about the largest its ever been. Scientists from Chile are doing studies of it and are concerned that it is letting a lot of solar heat get to the surface of the continent.
    I know almost nothing about the ozone hole but I’m sure a lot of people do and its consequences.

    Meanwhile Britain is bracing itself for another big storm.

    About 200 wildfires in northern Spain were extinguished by overnight rains, but in the south of Spain we only had about 2mm of rain. Very bad outlook here at the moment but plenty of water in the dams.

    Here’s a link to the next UK storm:-

    http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/flooded-areas-braced-for-storm-frank-to-hit-uk/ar-BBnYTFD?li=AA59G2

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  December 30, 2015

      I have read that the problem is actually a chilled stratosphere which accelerates Ozone destruction, caused by CO2 and GHG’s blocking an increasing percentage of heat from rising there, Plus all the airconditioners and refigeration in the developing world using the banned gases and cheap and nasty leaky products.

      It doesn’t rain but it pours to coin a phrase

      Reply
  58. Tom

     /  December 29, 2015

    Truly entering into the slightly more rising end of the exponential curve now, with no evidence that it can be “slowed down” in the human timeline. We’re biding our time people, doing no different than we’ve been conditioned to do, heading toward our end.

    Reply
  59. Colorado Bob

     /  December 29, 2015

    Switzerland has experienced its warmest December since the country began keeping records 150 years ago.

    But the Texas panhandle and Eastern Mexico are locked up in up to 10 foot snow drifts. After weeks of being in the 60’s and 70’s.

    I was watching it last night, it was mostly a rain shield as it crossed the Great Lakes . When it came over me, it came in bands of very intense winds. With grabble . (Round snow).
    Grapple is made in very nasty storms, the winds are so violent they roll a snow flake into ball. They hit your windows like hail, but it’s pecking sound.

    The most amazing blizzard I’ve ever seen. A real “Hansen Low”.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  December 29, 2015

      And it went on and on, and on. For hours. That’s a real climate change foot print. The old storms went on for 2 or 3 hours, the new storms are 2 or 3 days.
      This signal isn’t even on our radar, but it’s showed up. Right on time.

      It’s a longer period of being in harms way. The storms don’t just come and wipe-out your house, in rains on you for days as you sort the rubble.

      Reply
    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  December 29, 2015

      Just to give a flavour of how wet it has been in the UK:

      Notoriously wet Capel Curig in Snowdonia (Eryri) N.W. Wales (Cymru) average December rainfall 308.9mm (12 inches or thereabouts), previous record monthly December rainfall 612.6mm (two feet or thereabouts) in 2006, new record, with 3 days to go and Storm Frank to come, 1012.2mm (three feet or thereabouts). The old record beaten by 65%!

      Rainfall records have tumbled in the rest of northern England

      Shap (Cumbria) 773.2 total Dec 2015 215.6 average old record 504.4mm in 2006
      Keswick (Cumbria) 517.6 173 376.4mm in 2013
      Warcop Range (Cumbria) 281.6 94.1 218.4mm in 2006
      Stonyhurst (Lancashire) 331.4 141.6 319.3mm in 1951
      Morecambe (Lancashire) 281.4 109.2 272mm in 1909
      Bainbridge (North Yorkshire) 496.2 156.5 327.2mm in 2006

      It has also been a record high mean temperature for December in Wales of 9.3°C, eclipsing the previous post-1910 record of 7.5°C set in 1934. The remaining 3 days do not seem to be likely to change this much.

      The UK-wide average of 8.1°C eclipses the previous December record of 6.9°C, which was also set in 1934, and is 4.2°C above the mean average for the month of 3.9°C.

      Bye Bye winter, welcome a continuous Autumn all year round.

      http://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2015/12/28/record-breaking-december-rainfall/

      Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  December 29, 2015

        Sorry numbers got compressed, they are Dec 2015 totals, average and old record.

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 29, 2015

      Glad you’re OK Bob. Texas was rocked by that last storm. And you’re right about your observations.

      Reply
  60. “I contacted a team of climate scientists at the University of Washington who maintain a fleet of weather monitoring equipment near the North Pole. James Morison, the principal investigator of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, said he’s “never heard of” temperatures above freezing in the wintertime there. Looking closer at the weather data, it appears this event is in fact unprecedented during the time period from late December through late April”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/12/the_storm_that_caused_tornadoes_will_heat_the_north_pole.2.html

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  December 29, 2015

      Nice catch.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  December 29, 2015

      That’s a good article. This caught my eye…

      “On Wednesday, the North Pole will be warmer than Western Texas, Southern California, and parts of the Sahara.”

      Reply
      • I’m thinking people in the UK right now are pretty pissed off, a bit scared, and more than a little concerned. I’ve got more people reading this blog from the UK than the US. I honestly don’t know what that says about the reading and thinking portion of the US populace, but I wonder if the UK isn’t starting to wake up a bit.

        BTW, thank you for your question earlier. Helped me with today’s post.

        Reply
      • A reply to Robert: I think people in the UK are reasonably awake to climate change. And we’ll see what effect the latest round of floods have on that.

        Our big problem is that the current government is sympathetic to climate denial. Cameron’s original appointment as Environment Secretary (in the previous parliament) was a climate denier who, as I recall, was eventually forced out by public pressure. They went to the Paris climate talks, said some nice words (which everybody saw through), then came back home and carried on cutting subsidies to renewable energy (but not fossil fuels) and pushing through fracking (in national parks, and under people’s homes without compensation). They’re totally in hock to old ways of thinking and contacts in the fossil fuel industry.

        Meanwhile, institutions have been pulling their investments out of fossil fuels at an accelerating rate. Wind turbines have been springing up all round the country. Most of the UK is moving in the right direction, but without the support of the state.

        And of course the story is circulating now, at least on social media, that the govt cut funding for flood defences even though their advisers were telling them it needed to be increased. There are a lot of angry people in flooded areas. Unfortunately most of the traditional media supports the govt – if that were not the case there are so many things that could have brought them down.

        Reply
        • Thanks so much for the spot-on analysis here. I wonder if there will be a general strong backlash from the public or if media fogging on the issue will tend to blunt it, giving current government cover to continue repeating their mistakes.

          I’ve said before and I want to make very clear that I wholeheartedly agree with your point that the majority of the people of the UK do not want to keep investing in fossil fuels or to sail blindly into this climate change mess current conservative governments are helping to brew up. And I, like you, tend to see a substantial grass-roots to city, state (US), and regional level support for renewables. But the organs that lead national governments are often filled with some of the most backward fossil fuel troglodytes imaginable.

          We recently had a victory in the form of an extension of renewable energy incentives in the U.S. But we had to trade that for lifting the export ban for oil, which will tend to extend the lifespan of oil and gas fracking within the U.S. by providing that destructive industry with new markets. And since both oil and gas still receive such heavy subsidies and state support, renewables are made to directly compete with the dirty and dangerous fossil fuels upon a field where the old industry still holds many advantages. As just one example, subsidy support for fossil fuels at the global level is in the range of 500 billion dollars. Meanwhile renewables receive 1/5 that. As another example at the more micro level, many states in the U.S., such as my home state of Maryland, have made it illegal for apartment and condo complexes to make solar purchase agreements with on site developers like Solar City and Vivint. This red tape is clearly aimed at protecting traditional utility monopolies in the power sector. But it also has the added impact of slowing down the rate of solar energy adoption. And this is just one of many roadblocks to solar adoption, especially by those who do not own a detatched home (this includes many city dwellers).

          The good news is that investors are certainly starting to dump fossil fuels and shift interest to renewables. I do give credit to the divestment campaigns which have not only highlighted the moral imperative to shift, creating an appropriate negative stigma for fossil fuel investors, but also highlighting the fact that fossil fuels have no rational future in any reasonably functional economy (as their burning increasingly destroys the natural wealth basis that all economies rely on). One can tell that the campaigns have sting due to the widespread hush campaign against divestment coming from the usual suspect media outlets. The lead, as usual, is denial (they keep saying divestment isn’t working, even though it’s an essential part of the campaign to rapidly transition away from these deadly fuels).

          My sense is that the people of the UK now, as a whole, get this. That they, like so many others, yearn for freedom from their captivity to fossil fuel consumption and all the ills that go along with it. They have my deepest sympathies for the damage and tragedies they are suffering now. And I encourage them to wholeheartedly reject the current governments’ continued support of fossil fuels along with their ongoing attempts to imply that more flood funding (that the usual groups will again try to cut at a later date) is in any way a complete solution. At some point, there’s not enough money to pay for the kind of flood defenses that will be needed for the ever-worsening storms, or for a defense against rising seas or a dead, hydrogen sulfide spewing ocean. The way to deal with this is to shore up the current defenses, certainly. But the essential bit is to stop making the problem worse. And that means a complete cessation of fossil fuel burning.

          The UK government is currently doing everything it can to avoid talking about this critical aspect of the solution. And that, my friend, is as unconscionable as it is amoral.

        • I just subscribed to the Guardian, btw. It’s been a terrific source of objective climate news for some time.

        • They’ve done an amazing job covering this whole thing. What National Geographic should have been doing all along. I think you’ve made a great choice, my friend.

  61. Colorado Bob

     /  December 29, 2015

    Quoting 179. ILwthrfan:
    7 day average temperatures exceeding 36F above the average over such a large region in the arctic. Faster we go …


    Faster, and faster
    . As the Keeper says.

    Please all the deniers , step forward and explain why the Arctic at January 1st, will be over 36F above the average . I did this story before with The Greenland Heat Wave.

    A really crazy heat wave in Greenland in December.

    Reply
  62. – Mashable has a good piece. It’s similar to Robert’s post🙂 Good to see common approach to significant set of ‘events’.
    This motion graphic is good:
    (But first the headline.)

    Historic storm set to slam Iceland, northern UK with hurricane-force winds


    – This animation shows a top level view, looking straight down on the Arctic, showing the anomalously mild air starting out near Greenland and sweeping north to the North Pole.

    Reply
  63. Colorado Bob

     /  December 29, 2015

    Narsarsuaq, Greenland at 9:50 PM WGT / 12-29-2010

    50F degrees east wind at 24 mph. This is today’s high so far , the temp went up 9F since noon. Max wind today was 54 mph.

    This current reading is 22F above average max temp., and sets a new daily record by 6F. Beating 44F set way back in 2002.

    The average min temp is 14F, since this reading is at 10 o’clock at night , this measurement is 36F above that average.

    Narsarsuaq started this streak on Nov. 19th they set the new daily record of 42F . Then they set new high records for 4 days, peaking with one of 57F.
    Add in another 11 new high records since, and this station in Greenland has set 16 new daily high temp. records in 60 days.

    A 6 week heat wave in Greenland in the dark, in the darkest portion of winter.

    Since I began this post the temperature has gone up another 2F degrees. It’s 52F there now.

    Link

    Reply
    • – As it happens – from above link: ’50F degrees east wind at 24 mph. This is today’s high so far , the temp went up 9F since noon. Max wind today was 54 mph.’

      Reply
  64. – USA Floods from atmospheric moisture getting intense.

    Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 3m3 minutes ago

    Flood warnings currently out for roughly 1/3 of the entire Mississippi River drainage basin. Pretty incredible.

    Reply
  65. – USA Gulf Coast Petrochemical Free Fire Zone to get a soaking.

    NWS WPC ‏@NWSWPC 2h2 hours ago

    Precip forecast thru Fri AM. A slow moving front will bring heavy rain to Gulf Coast.

    Reply
  66. Colorado Bob

     /  December 29, 2015

    Greenland –
    VLJ Embraer Phenom 100 Landing at Narsarsuaq Airport in Greenland (BGBW)

    Reply
  67. – ‘Out of season’ spring floods indicative of climate regime change

    Rains Close Arkansas River Locks; Flow Could Exceed Spring Floods
    BRIAN D. SANDERFORD • TIMES RECORD The Arkansas River surrounds the Clyde T. Ellis Hydroelectric Generating Station at the James W. Trimble Lock and Dam on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015 in Barling. The Lock and Dam has been closed to barge traffic due to the high water.

    Reply
  68. This article at Slate, called “The Scariest Part of This Season’s Weird Weather Is Coming Soon” affirms this post written by Robert:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/12/the_storm_that_caused_tornadoes_will_heat_the_north_pole.html

    Any excerpt from the article:

    The remarkable storm will briefly boost temperatures in the Arctic basin to nearly 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal—and the North Pole itself will be pushed above the freezing point, with temperatures perhaps as warm as 40 degrees. That’s absolutely terrifying and incredibly rare. Keep in mind: It’s late December and dark 24 hours a day at the North Pole right now. The typical average high temperature this time of year at the North Pole is about minus 15 to minus 20 degrees. To create temperatures warm enough to melt ice to exist in the dead of winter—some 50 or 60 degrees warmer than normal—is unthinkable.

    This midwinter melt at the North Pole is a preview of what’s to come later this century—in fact, the temperature anomalies match almost exactly with what is predicted. The long-feared worst-case climate change scenario, which, thankfully was made less likely by the Paris agreement earlier this month, projects an ice-free Arctic within decades. Storms like this week’s are exactly the type of events that do the dirty work of ushering in that world. In the meantime, we’re running on the knife’s edge as a civilization, dodging warning signs and hoping for a planetary miracle.

    Reply
    • P.S. Avoid the comment section….The “deniers” are out in full force….So, depressing to read their inane comments. Ugh..

      Reply
    • Oops…Didn’t see that Robert had updated his post to include the Slate article. Me bad!

      Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  December 30, 2015

      About the Slate article – did the Paris agreement really make the worst case climate change scenario much less likely? I know it will have some impact, but it still allows a huge amount of fossil fuel use. The Paris agreement certainly won’t save us, by itself, especially if we get complacent.

      Reply
  69. NWS Anchorage ‏@NWSAnchorage 11m11 minutes ago

    Tonight & Wed in SW #Alaska: 80 to 100mph gusts w/ sustained high winds could cause damage tonight.

    Reply
  70. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 4h4 hours ago

    12Z analysis & visible satellite image, 2 Atlantic hurricane force lows, NE low still deepening en route to Iceland.

    Reply
  71. Colorado Bob

     /  December 29, 2015

    That landing at Narsarsuaq was a great find. Only the very rich land at Narsarsuaq ,
    Five years ago .

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  December 29, 2015

      This is a great video ,it’s over 5 years old. It”s how the rich move.

      Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  December 29, 2015

      Interesting watching that video and thinking that the scenes from the planes window made me think that the coasts of North America would probably have looked like that 500 years ago, without the glaciers in most cases of course.
      What a mess we seem to have made of things?

      Reply
  72. Colorado Bob

     /  December 29, 2015

    The rich use science to escape. They are not that bright.

    Reply
  73. Found a new article at Yahoo… a study was made for California’s millions of trees and it looks like the drought stress on them has been extremely bad: bad enough to cause about half of them to be so water stressed that they’ll die if the drought comes back.

    California’s Future Is in the Hands of Its Dying Trees

    Newsweek – By Zoë Schlanger 29 December 2015

    The past four years of punishing drought have badly hurt California’s forests. Rain was scarce, the days were too hot, and this year’s wildfire season was the worst anyone has seen in years, burning up nearly 10 million acres across the West. For the first time, a team of researchers has measured the severity of the blow the drought dealt the trees, uncovering potential future destruction in the process. The resulting paper, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a rich visual testament to just how much California needs its trees and how close the state is to losing 58 million of them.

    A team at the Carnegie Institution for Science, led by ecologist Greg Asner, used a laser-guided imaging tool, more properly referred to as high-fidelity imaging spectroscopy (HiFIS), mounted on a plane to sweep over California, taking snapshots that revealed how much water content the forest canopy had lost over time. In these images, the trees that appear red and orange are severely depleted of water. Light trees, in shades of tan, are trees under “drought stress” resulting from this past year’s dry season. The trees colored in blue are “doing OK,” Asner says.

    (Image at link.

    In total, the team found that up to 58 million large trees, shown in red, have been heavily impacted by the drought. If the drought recurs, or if the El Niño keeps the heat turned up in the region, Asner says these trees will likely die. New tree growth would also be suppressed, leaving room for shrublands or grasslands to take over, destroying the current ecosystem of plants and animals entirely. That poses a host of new questions for wildlife management and conservation. “For example,” Asner says, “if we’re going to lose habitat, what does that mean for bear populations?”

    http://news.yahoo.com/californias-future-hands-dying-trees-161512163.html

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  December 29, 2015

      The world wide forest collapse is one I follow. Every tree everywhere is under attack.

      Every tree everywhere is under attack.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  December 29, 2015

      The end of our world as we have know it.

      RS –
      Well here we are, I am still here.

      Reply
      • Bob —

        I sincerely hope that you are, my friend. I’m getting calls from people who are concerned about you. You’re such a vital and active part of the online climate community that any absence is met with concern. Plus the fact that your local area has received some heavy weather have some wondering if you’re OK. Anne recently chimed in, but I’m not sure if she’s aware of this post.

        I’d also just want to let you know how important you are here. Your frank honesty, levity, and willingness to use song to spread cheer are a unique combination to your amazing insight. I think you and I are similar in that we both have strong creative and strong analytical sides. It’s one of the reasons why you’re able to see things, see connections so clearly. My sense is that the world needs more people like you. People who are able to both think and to feel. Rational, compassionate, conscientious, passionate, creative, humorous, brutally honest. I think these are the things people value most in you. And they miss them when they’re gone.

        I also know you, like me, can suffer from dark times. If it’s one of those, I’d just like to let you know that we’re all here. We miss you. And we appreciate everything you’ve done.

        Please chime in so I can tell everyone you’re OK. I’ll also let Anne know about this post of yours.

        Best to you my amazing friend. We should all aspire to be ‘jackasses’ like you😉.

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  December 30, 2015

      Gail Zawacki over at Wits End Blog turned me on to the worldwide plight of trees. I spent a long time really hoping her posts were bull. Unfortunately, she and Colorado Bob are right. It is a worldwide issue of tropospheric ozone weakening trees to the point that they die from drought, disease or infestation. It is a maddening thing to learn of.

      Reply
  74. Darn forgot the plural link exclusion….

    In case my previous post doesn’t show…

    California’s Future Is in the Hands of Its Dying Trees

    Reply
  75. Colorado Bob

     /  December 29, 2015

    Here we go the most read site on the web ?

    Not yet, butt soon, very very soon.

    Reply
  76. South of the Equator, a bit more expected (it’s an El Nino Year, after all) but in greater scale than ever seen (which seems to be the theme for everything these days), Paraguay floods have been so severe that there’s an entire town underwater (Nanawa). I’m awful at finding news in English, so the article in the link is in Portuguese (the photos are shocking, and there’s a full gallery).
    http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mundo/2015/12/1723868-piores-chuvas-desde-1983-fazem-cidade-submergir-no-paraguai.shtml

    Only 200 square meters of the whole town are still dry, but most of the people haven’t left (they fear looting, and are camping in attics and over roofs). Federal government aid hasn’t reached the city yet (it’s implied in the article that they’re trying to force people to leave by only sending food and water to refugee camps out of town), and the mayor of Nanawa, Javier Nunes, complains in the article that he’s having to pay for fuel of rescue boats with his own money, as federal aid isn’t coming.

    Reply
  77. Reblogged this article and the previous one on the failing Arctic climate at Fin des Voies Rapides, nested in the post: Why COP21 Is a Fraud… Last Part. Thanks Robert!

    Reply
  78. James Burton

     /  December 29, 2015

    “Storm Frank is set to bring MORE misery across Britain tonight with six inches of rain and 80mph winds on the way
    Cumbria and York face further misery as Storm Frank is set to hit Britain overnight – bringing 80mph winds and rain”

    Six inches more of rain pouring onto rain soaked hills and dales! Imagine the effect this half foot of rain is going to bring? So far. British media is loath to say “climate change”. No matter how different the times are now, they just can’t spit out the words “global warming”
    Political and corporate power is still dedicated to fracking the UK, while global warming induced disaster is hammering them.

    Reply
    • Looks like 3.5 feet of Rain for North England this month and counting… Previous record at less than 2 feet if memory serves.

      We just got a mention in the Atlantic… Article about rain over sea ice during winter upcoming.

      Reply
      • – The Atlantic:

        … But in the Arctic, this level of warmth is unprecedented. In order for this huge, hot storm to reach Iceland on Wednesday, it’s punching right through the Jet Stream, the atmospheric “river” that brings temperate weather to Europe. Yet El Niño should typically reinforce this current, explains the climate writer Robert Scribbler—for the Jet Stream to weaken is a sign that something else is going on.

        While institutional science will take years, if not decades, to confirm a correlation between human-forced climate change and strong North Atlantic storms, Scribbler believes that Wednesday’s insane warmth at the pole resembles the southern incursions of the “polar vortex” that have been seen in recent winters. These changes are related to human-forced climate change, he writes: a sign that something in the atmosphere has gone “dreadfully wrong.”

        http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/12/iceland-storm-melt-north-pole-climate-change/422166/

        Reply
  79. PlazaRed

     /  December 29, 2015

    The temperature in Longyearbyen on Svalbard is 45F.

    Interesting that the temps in the area are not projected to return to “below Zero” until at least next Wednesday.
    We have to bear in mind that this place is at about 80 degrees north and in total darkness, they don’t even have “moon rise,” let alone any chance of sun rise!

    http://www.wunderground.com/weather-forecast/zmw:00000.1.01008

    Reply
    • Kees van der Leun ‏@Sustainable2050 1h1 hour ago

      Temperature on Svalbard (Airport) just rose to +8.1°C, warmest on record for any month between November and April!

      Reply
  80. – AK Very strong weather and winds.

    NWS Alaska Region ‏@NWSAlaska 13m13 minutes ago

    #Alaska aviators: AAWU & CWSU are forecasting severe to extreme conditions for 6z-18z Wed over #Anchorage. #AKwx

    Reply
  81. NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 19m19 minutes ago

    18Z OPC analysis & IR satellite image w/E Atlantic 948mb hurricane force low deepening, still on track for Iceland.

    Reply
  82. – USA NWS St. Louis ‏@NWSStLouis 1h1 hour ago

    Major and historic flooding is expected along area rivers. Never drive into flood waters! #stlwx #mowx #ilwx

    Reply
  83. – USA Floods – Extensive ‘drone’ cam footage.

    Central Missouri Floods (Sullivan, Bourbon, Devil’s Elbow, Hazelgreen, Jerome)- December 28, 2015

    Reply
  84. Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 3h3 hours ago

    Bombing low in N Atl down to 938mb. Bent-back occlusion/sting jet evolving over open waters w/ winds likely 100kt+.

    Reply
  85. Ralph Snyder

     /  December 30, 2015

    Just wondering whether this might be connected to the weakening of AMOC. If the ocean can’t redistribute the heat, the atmosphere has to.

    But then I don’t know very much any these things

    Reply
  86. Abel Adamski

     /  December 30, 2015

    Interestingly have tried to post 3 responses on this News Ltd Site, note no comments even though invited

    http://www.news.com.au/world/el-nio-and-climate-change-wreaks-havoc-across-globe/news-story/231b87cb2477d9f30eb18e0f40b9ad66

    Reply
  87. Bruce Amiata

     /  December 30, 2015
    Reply
  88. Abel Adamski

     /  December 30, 2015

    Another effect, especially in those basically denialist communities such as much of the US, especially Republican areas and the UK, judging by the comments in their media.

    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/12/200-million-americans-will-suffer-psychological-distress-from-climate-change/

    A report published by the National Wildlife Foundation finds that the majority of Americans can expect to suffer mental health problems as a result of global warming and warns that our mental health system is not equipped to handle it.

    “The interplay between the climate realities we likely face and the potential psychological fallout from them was the subject of a conference convened in Washington D.C., in March 2009,” write Lise van Susteren, MD, and Kevin J. Doyle, JD, introducing their work. “A highly respected group of experts offered insights. Their thoughts, recommendations and supporting evidence are presented in this report.”

    “The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the United States,” examines the hitherto undiscussed effects of increasingly prevalent extreme weather, sea level rise, drought and other impacts of climate change on mental health. How will we cope with a changing world?

    “The incidences of mental and social disorders will rise steeply. These will include depressive and anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorders, substance abuse, suicides, and widespread outbreaks of violence. Children, the poor, the elderly, and those with existing mental health disorders are especially vulnerable and will be hardest hit.”

    Reply
    • …and GUILT may be the source of most of it all…

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  December 31, 2015

        Actually I see the major impact being on those who have shaped their belief systems and identity around false information and constructs having to face the reality that the frauds and charlatans are actually their heroes and those they trusted.
        That is a destabilising realisation

        Reply
    • This is an important finding. But I think that the article missed out on the opportunity to highlight one global mental health issue related to climate change that has already taken deep root — denial.

      Reply
  89. Andy Lee Robinson

     /  December 30, 2015

    The Arctic really does not need any more heat!

    A couple of days of extreme high temps won’t make much difference, but if increased average temps are sustained, then it will affect the long term status of the sea ice.
    Any bets on the year of the first ice free Arctic?

    Reply
  90. Norman

     /  December 30, 2015

    To cap it all, there are measures aplenty which would save most people money and reduce the rate of warming, if not halt it; see onlyelevenpercent.com.

    Instead, most governments are doing too little. The ‘Cameron/Osborne regime’ seems so two-faced that it went from ‘the greenest govt. ever’ to ‘green crap’ within a few years.

    Reply
  91. You know things are changing when Robert gets quoted by both The Washington Post and The Atlantic. (Still waiting for The Intercept to respond to the emails I sent them encouraging them to hire you.) At what point can we faithful readers say”We were hip to RobertScribbler before it was hip to be hip to RobertScribbler.”

    Do you ever find yourself wishing you were crazy and wrong about all this? I do. More than that, I wish society would respond wisely…

    Reply
  92. Oh man — I’m linking to your info!

    Reply
  93. gary

     /  December 30, 2015

    I love this site, and really admire Mr. Fanney’s writing ability, especially with the dramatic flair, and reside in same area as he, but could not find above zero temps at the NP on the null website. Not criticizing, I’m sure it’s my lack of skill with the EN site.

    Reply
    • Since it’s already happened, you’re going to have to use the back arrow to go back to late December 29 and early December 30. Of course, I’ve made screen a screen capture of that time which is available in the post above.

      It’s worth noting that the Nullschool data will drop off after 96 hours. So make any screen captures you need before then.

      Reply
  94. FYI – The Atlantic picked up this story and it made headlines on MSN home page, see: http://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/the-storm-that-will-unfreeze-the-north-pole/ar-BBo2Bxy

    Reply
  95. Reblogged this on Dragon Mother and commented:
    “As of early Wednesday morning temperatures at the North Pole had risen to 1.1 C or 34 degrees F representing the highest temperatures ever recorded at the North Pole for this time of year and the first time this region of the high Arctic has experienced temperatures substantially above freezing during Winter.”

    Reply
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